By Michael Petrou - Tuesday, September 6, 2011 - 13 Comments
I wrote earlier this summer about moves, in Afghanistan and in Western capitals, to negotiate with the Taliban an end to the war in Afghanistan. These efforts are continuing. Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar has admitted to contacts between his organization and the Americans — although he says discussions have been about exchanging prisoners rather than a political settlement. Credible reports suggest these have been much more substantial.
The prospect of a negotiated end to this war is tantalizing and becomes more so the longer it goes on. But proponents of a settlement need to ask, and answer, several questions about what such a process would entail. Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Monday, June 20, 2011 at 11:43 AM - 7 Comments
Amrullah Saleh was head of Afghanistan’s secret police, the NDS, during the time that Canadian diplomat Richard Colvin alleges detainees transferred to the NDS by Canadian Forces were tortured.
As near as I can tell, Saleh has not spoken to media about these allegations (though he has addressed them in letters and reports — including to the former Afghan ambassador to Canada — that have been made public).
I met with Saleh in Kabul. The bulk of our interview concerned his involvement in the political movement opposed to a peace deal with the Taliban. We did, however, briefly touch on the detainee issue. Here, for the record, is what he said: Continue…
By Michael Petrou - Friday, June 17, 2011 at 10:24 PM - 6 Comments
My second article from Afghanistan is about Afghans opposed to President Hamid Karzai’s Western-backed efforts to reconcile with the Taliban.
This movement is, I believe, consequential, and may present Afghanistan’s international allies with a biting dilemma.
“After a lot of effort and many, many hundreds of millions of dollars, you may reach that peace deal,” Mahmoud Saikal, a former Afghan deputy foreign minister who is now organizing against Karzai, told me. “But you will have lost the Afghan people.” Continue…
By Aaron Wherry - Wednesday, March 17, 2010 at 11:45 AM - 8 Comments
Within a “tranche” of previously undisclosed documents, the Globe finds an unmet pledge to build a prison in Afghanistan and a dispute between Afghan and NATO officials over access to detainees.
The NDS chief also complained bitterly to Canada, Britain and the Netherlands that their follow-up inspections aimed at making sure prisoners weren’t being transferred to torture – an international war crime – were creating problems in the prisons. Unexpected and multiple inspection visits were unwelcome, he wrote, and infringed on Afghan sovereignty.
Mr. Saleh threatened to cut-off inspections and – apparently seeking to appease the NDS chief – the three countries agreed to only conduct joint visits with plenty of advance notice and limit them to once a month at most. “We hope this will minimize any disruption caused by our access to your facilities and allow access arrangements to resume,” Canada, Britain and the Netherlands said in their written response to Mr. Saleh. “As the three main nations who transfer detainees over to NDS custody, we have discussed how best to respond to your concerns,” the letter says.